The hot cannabinoid of the moment is Delta-8 THC. It’s a psychoactive compound—as in, it gets you high—that’s legal in most states. Or, if not legal, then at least widely available. It’s in a bit of a gray area.
Understanding why starts with the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp (or cannabis—it’s the same plant) as long as levels of THC remained below a certain very low threshold. This law accelerated the already-booming market in CBD and created a market opening for novelties like weed that doesn’t get you high.
The structure of the law—everything hemp is legal except THC—created what’s seen by many producers as a loophole that allows the production and sale of Delta-8 THC, because it’s ever-so-slightly chemically distinct from the banned Delta-9 THC. As the owner of a Texas CBD company put it to the New York Times: “You have a drug that essentially gets you high, but is fully legal,” he said. “The whole thing is comical.”
“Fully” is probably an overstatement. It’s not legal everywhere in the U.S., and might not stay legal forever. A few states have opted to ban the drug—including, this week, North Dakota—and the feds are apparently still considering their options. But at the moment, Delta 8 is easy to get delivered in the mail or at a head shop in most states.
Published: April 23, 2021